July 4-9 2016 | Accompaniment in modal music


July 4-9 2016, Labyrinth Musical Workshop, Houdetsi/Crete
by Pavlos Spyropoulos & Theodora Athanasiou

The seminar will take place for the first time in the format of a music group. The intent is to study and highlight accompaniment as a living and inalienable component of the art of music focusing primarily on its relevance to the modal musical traditions of the southeast Mediterranean.

Given that in the context of the musical idioms in question the melodic line has a singularly powerful presence, many players of what we might call accompanying instruments have a tendency to concentrate almost entirely on the melody itself, with the intention of improving to the best of their ability its rendition, whilst simultaneously not paying enough attention to other accompaniment possibilities which could potentially work more effectively in support of a composition or an improvisation. It is exactly this observation which serves as the starting point for this seminar which employs two instruments frequently encountered in an accompanying role in almost all of the musical idioms (folk and “classical”) of the broader region: the Guitar and the double bass.

Basic subject matter

  • Rhythm and rhythmic patterns as the basis for entire musical structures
  • the Drone as the basis of harmony
  • “ chords” without thirds, with foreign notes, how, when and why?
  • The basic elements of modal analysis/ from modal analysis to harmonic progression
  • the use of counterpoint


As basic material we will use melodies and motifs from the various musical traditions of our broader area as well as contemporary compositions, given that our eventual goal is to interact with the melody.

For whom is this seminar relevant:

It targets all who wish to focus on the subject outlined in the title of the seminar regardless of which instrument they play or of how advance they may or may not be.

What is required

  • Our musical knowledge and aesthetic sense – the essential personal characteristics of each of us
  • Our Musical instrument
  • A means of recording the material
  • An open mind with regards to experimentation and work.


Guitarists and Bass players will also be able to benefit from extra instruction on their respective instruments although the seminar is equally open to players of other instruments which also play an accompanying role on occasion (eg Laouto, Cello, Oud etc). t the end of the seminar a small presentation will take place in which a sample of the work done will be presented.